Westshore Wolves defenceman Tomba Huddelstan wheels up the ice during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoff action. Huddelstan scored the game 7 and series-winning goal in the second overtime period to give the Wolves a 4-3 win Saturday in Colwood. Westshore advances to the league semifinal against the Campbell River Storm. (Don Descoteau/Black Press)

Westshore Wolves down Victoria Cougars in thrilling game 7 double overtime

Wolves take on the Campbell River Storm in round two of VIJHL playoffs

The Westshore Wolves are heading to round two of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs after a thrilling 4-3 double-overtime win over the Victoria Cougars in game 7 this weekend.

“It was very exciting,” rookie head coach Tyler Matheson said. “The four coaches on the bench were ecstatic and so were the players. It was something that we felt we deserved and it was very surreal when they finally put that puck in the net and we ended the series.”

In the nail-biting series, the Cougars won the first two games of the South Division playoff series, but dropped three straight to the Wolves. The Cougars managed to force a game 7 after an emphatic 6-2 win on Thursday on home turf at the Archie Browning Arena. 

Game 7 got underway at The Q Centre in Colwood on Saturday night. The Wolves opened the scoring at 1:29 of the second period with a snipe by Trevor Bottomley, assisted by Cole Gardner. But the Cougars got on the board shortly after with three unanswered goals from Shane Kime, Foster Martin and Darwin Lakoduk.

The Wolves capitalized on the power play as Nicholas Polomark found the back of the net with help from Kieran Cardinal and Ty Madden. Madden would score the tieing goal at 12:16 into the third from Keegan Durrance and Brandon Tutte.

At 1:07 into double overtime it was Tomba Huddlestan who roofed a shot from Cardinal and Calijiah Philip to win the series for the Wolves.

In the end, Matheson said it was the Wolves’ speed on the ice that made the difference.

“We have a lot of speed in our lineup and we used it quite a bit. We were relentless more times than not. We made sure we pressured our opponent, getting in their face, and making sure they knew it was going to be a battle every night,” he said.

“We respect Victoria’s battle for the full seven games and give them a lot of respect, they battled hard.”

For Cougars head coach Suneil Karod, it was a disappointing way to end the season.

“It was obviously disappointing that we were up 3-1 and couldn’t hang on to the lead. I think Westshore had a really good push running into the third period at the end of the second,” he said. “We just basically played not to lose, instead of playing to win, which is a big difference. We’re proud of the guys for taking it to game seven and doing really well.”

Up next, the Westshore Wolves take on the Campbell River storm in the second round of the playoffs, beginning in Campbell River on Tuesday. The next home game for the Wolves takes place on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Matheson will be making sure his team stays out of the penalty box.

“[The Campbell River Storm] are a very offensively-skilled team and any chance we can give them to go on the power play or give them a good scoring chance, they’re a team that’s going to put the puck in the back of the net,” he said. “We need to be disciplined and take care of our defensive zone … It’s going to be a great match-up.”


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kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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